Use Portrait mode on your iPhone

Learn how to use Portrait mode to create extraordinary images.

Portrait mode uses the cameras in compatible iPhone models to create a depth-of-field effect. This lets you compose a photo that keeps your subject sharp while blurring the background. You can also add lighting effects to your image and take a selfie in Portrait mode.

Before you get started, make sure that you have the latest version of iOS.

You can use Portrait mode on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7 Plus. Taking a selfie in Portrait mode requires iPhone X or later. Learn how to identify your iPhone.

 

How to take photos in Portrait mode

  1. Open the Camera app and swipe to Portrait mode.
  2. Follow the tips on your screen. When Portrait mode is ready, the lighting effect, like Natural Light, turns yellow.
  3. Tap the shutter button .

The Camera app lets you know when you're too close, too far away, or if the area is too dark. You can also use True Tone flash, set a timer, and apply filters. After you take a photo, you can use the built-in editing features to do things like crop and auto-enhance.

If you have iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, Portrait mode opens to the Telephoto camera. Tap the 2x button if you want to zoom out and use the Wide camera.

When you use the rear camera on iPhone XR, a person's face must be detected in the viewfinder to take a Portrait mode photo.


Add Portrait Lighting

On iPhone X and later, and iPhone 8 Plus, you can use the Portrait Lighting feature to apply studio-quality lighting effects to your Portrait mode images. Choose from Studio Light to brighten facial features, Contour Light for more dramatic directional lighting, Stage Light to isolate your subject in the spotlight, Stage Mono for stage light in a classic black and white, or High-Key Light Mono for a grayscale subject on a white background.

You can take a Portrait mode photo with a real-time preview of the lighting effect on your screen. With your Camera app in Portrait mode, swipe between the different lighting effects that appear in the bottom part of the viewfinder. The Portrait mode photo that you take has the lighting effect applied.

You can also change the Portrait Lighting effect of any Portrait mode photo that you've already taken:

  1. Open the Photos app, then select the Portrait mode photo that you want to change.
  2. Tap Edit. Lighting effects appear in the bottom part of the photo.
  3. Swipe the lighting effects to choose the one you want.
  4. Tap Done.

High-Key Light Mono is available using the front-facing TrueDepth camera and the rear-facing camera system on iPhone XS and later. It's available using the TrueDepth camera on iPhone XR.


Take a selfie in Portrait mode

With an iPhone X and later, you can take selfies in Portrait mode. Here's how:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Swipe to Portrait mode and tap the front-facing camera button .
  3. Hold your iPhone in front of your face.
  4. Snap your selfie with one of the volume buttons.

You can also use Portrait Lighting effects on photos that you take in selfie mode.

On iPhone XR, the rear-facing camera system supports only Natural Light, Studio Light, and Contour Light.


Adjust Depth Control and Portrait Lighting

After you take a photo in Portrait mode, you can adjust the level of background blur and the intensity of Portrait Lighting effects:

  1. Tap a Portrait mode photo in your library.
  2. Tap Edit, then tap the Depth Control button  at the top of the screen to adjust Depth Control or Portrait Lighting button  to adjust Portrait Lighting. A slider appears below the photo.
  3. Drag the slider left or right to adjust the effect. A gray dot above the slider marks the original value for the photo.
  4. Tap Done.


How to remove the Portrait mode effect

  1. Select the photo that you want to change.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap Portrait at the top of your screen. 

If you change your mind and want to re-add the Portrait mode effect, go back to Edit and tap Portrait again.


Learn more

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